Saturday, January 16, 2021

Book Review - The Bell Jar


TITLE: The Bell Jar

AUTHOR: Sylvia Plath

PUBLISHER: Pharaohs and Gods; 1st edition (November 1, 2020)

PUBLICATION DATE: November 1, 2020

GENRE: Roman à clef

FROM AMAZON: The Bell Jar is the only novel written by the American writer and poet Sylvia Plath. Originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas", the novel is semi-autobiographical, with the names of places and people changed.


  1. Summary: Esther is a scholastic prodigy. Everyone has high hopes for her, including herself. She wins a summer month-long paid internship at a fashion magazine in NYC. The year is 1953. She begins to unravel. Her mother and a longtime boyfriend are the other main characters. An assortment of other people flit through her life as she attempts to experience life while at the same time losing her desire to live. She ends up being committed by her mother in the hopes that she becomes normal again.

  2. Evaluation: The writing style was easy to read and smooth which was the only reason I was able to finish the book. The Bell Jar is a synonym for the sensory dampening Ester experienced, the cut off of sound and sensation, the idea of being an observer and separate from all around her. Despite some interesting situations, like her obsession with losing her virginity because her boyfriend was more experienced than she was, I felt no connection to Esther. Perhaps this was intentional as a way to experience her disconnectedness. If so, it was well done because I didn’t much care what happened. I read it as an autobiography and not as a novel. 

  3. Recommendation: If you are studying Sylvia Plath, then read this. I came away feeling nothing and I doubt I’ll remember much of it. I was disappointed. Maybe I just didn’t understand it.   

  4. Final Thought: If you do decide to read it, don’t get it from this publisher. It’s clear the text was scanned and no one proofed it. Errors throughout. 

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